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Trump just noticed Europe’s $5BN antitrust fine for Google

In other news bears shit in the woods. In today’s second day Trump news: President ‘The Donald’ has seized, belatedly, on the European Commission’s announcement yesterday  that it had found Google guilty of three types of illegal antitrust behavior with its Android OS since 2011 and was fining the company $5 billion; a record breaking penalty the Commission’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said reflects the length and gravity of the company’s competition infringements. Trump is not! at all! convinced! though! “I told you so!” he has tweeted triumphantly just now. “The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google . They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!” I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2018 Also not so very long ago, Trump was the one grumbling about tech giants. Though Amazon is his most frequent target in tech, while Google has been spared the usual tweet lashings. Albeit, on the average day he may not necessarily be able to tell one tech giant from another. Vestager can though, and she cited Amazon as one of the companies that had suffered as a direct result of contractual conditions Google imposed on device makers using its Android OS — squeezing the ecommerce giant’s potential to build a competing Android ecosystem, with its Fire OS. Presumably, for Trump, Amazon is not ‘one of our great companies’ though. At least it’s only Google that gets his full Twitter attention — and a special Trumpian MAGA badge of honor call-out as “one of our great companies” — in the tweet. Presumably, he hasn’t had this  pointed out to him yet  though. So, uh, awkward. Safe to say, Trump is seizing on Google’s antitrust penalty as a stick to beat the EU, set against a backdrop of Trump already having slapped a series of tariffs on EU goods and Trump recently threatening the EU with tariffs on cars — in what is fast looking like a full blown trade war

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And now, here’s a ‘Trumpy Cat’ augmented reality app from George Takei

Anyone who follows George Takei on Twitter can tell you that Star Trek ‘s original Sulu is not a fan of President Donald Trump. But he’s found a new way to express that criticism — not just in tweets, interviews and op-eds, but also in an augmented reality app called House of Cats . The app was built in partnership with Montreal-based development company BMAD, and it allows users to interact animated animal characters like Trumpy Cat, Meowlania, Vladdy Putin and Lil’ Rocket Pug. They can add their own voice recordings, superimpose the animals on real environments and take photos with them — Takei suggested including Trumpy Cat in photos of real-world protests. When I asked where the idea came from, Takei had a simple explanation : “The Internet loves the combination of politics and cats.” While the app looks pretty silly, Takei made the by-now-commonplace observation that satire is having a hard time keeping up with the daily news. We spoke shortly after Trump had his press conference with Vladimir Putin — setting off this week’s cycle of criticism, denial and missing double negatives — and Takei told me, “No augmented reality could have created the true reality of what we saw this morning: Donald Trump standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Vladimir Putin … his denial of the attack on the core activity of our democratic system.” Takei added that humor is a key ingredient in getting a serious message out into the world. He’s pointed to his embrace of memes ( particularly Grumpy Cat ) as one of the main drivers of his popularity on social media, which in turn gives him a bigger platform for his political views. “I’m a political activist — I have been since I was a teenager, largely because of my childhood incarceration behind American barbed wire fences ,” Takei said. He said his social media presence is meant to be an extension of that activism, but, “I notice that if I’m documenting the truth, people are nodding off. So I try to kind of inject a little humor into it.” The app costs 99 cents, and there are plans for subscription content as well. It might seem strange to pay money for a satirical cat app, but keep in mind that some of the profits will go to Refugees International . “Making a mockery of this particular person is going to be a very effective tool,” Takei said.

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